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L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

L.A. Stories / The Roving Eye

Face Value

Are L.A. media executives really worth less?

Judging from the auction of Wall Street Journal images on eBay, they sure are.

Of the 74 original “hedcuts” those signature images the Journal runs instead of photos of media executives auctioned by the Journal to benefit the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund for journalism education, local names were worth far less than their East Coast brethren.

As the auction closed on April 29, producer Peter Guber had drawn a top bid of $16.50 (bidding started at $9.99), Jon Peters fared less well, at $15.50. Once all-powerful Mike Ovitz pulled a top bid of $60, outpaced by Larry Flynt’s $101.98. There was a top offer of $43 for Jeffrey Katzenberg, the only DreamWorks partner being auctioned, while Terry Semel and Frank Biondi pulled bids of $32.51 and $15, respectively.

In a nod, perhaps, to Old Hollywood, Lew Wasserman, late of MCA, edged out Flynt with the highest local bid: $102.50.

These compared to bids of $204.50 for Fred (“Mr.”) Rogers, $152.50 for both “60 Minutes” producer Don Hewitt and Walter Isaacson, news chief at CNN. Former presidential speechwriter and “West Wing” consultant Peggy Noonan was deemed most valuable, going for $245.

An auction of entertainment hedcuts commences May 6.

Comfort Level

Elite Traveler magazine has teamed up with the Black Sports Agents Association to teach affluent athletes how to make the most of their money.

Through the partnership, Elite will develop weekend retreats on everything from etiquette to financial management for members of BSAA, a West Hollywood-based trade organization representing 3,500 sports agents and other professionals nationwide.

Some retreat sessions under consideration are: “From Chianti to Chardonnay, Choosing Wines” and “Two Button Suits vs. Three Button Suits.”

“The (sports) leagues are getting younger and younger and athletics and entertainment sometimes is a vehicle out of poverty,” said Lance McCarthy, vice president of economic development for BSAA. “We want them to be comfortable in any setting.”

Don’t Be Buffaloed

Chicago had its fiberglass cows, Los Angeles its plastic angels and now the City of Avalon on Catalina Island is launching its own public art display of life-size buffalo.

Starting next week, 25 decorated buffalo sculptures will go on display throughout the streets of Avalon through early November.

Catalina Island is home to scores of live buffalo that were imported to the island in the early 1900s. The buffalo roam the chaparral-covered hills that dominate the island.

Island boosters, eager to drum up additional tourism business in the wake of Sept. 11, launched “Buffalo in Paradise” early this year. The press release from the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau noted that the “Cows on Parade” event in Chicago netted $500 million in additional tourist revenue.

Local artists are now busy putting the finishing touches on decorations on each of the buffalo. “The sight of 25 buffalo on display along our palm tree-lined, waterfront streets is an attraction visitors will not want to miss,” said Gwen Bronson, spokeswoman for the chamber.

Developing Star

So much for the image of the starving, out-of-work actor.

Among the established thespians and struggling extras appearing in “T3: Rise of the Machines” will be L.A. real estate developer Jerry Katell, whose company has developed Chesterfield Square, as well as about 5 million square feet of office and industrial space. He’ll have a two-line part in the movie, which is scheduled for release next year.

“My part is a ‘CRS executive,'” said Katell, who began taking acting classes about two years ago. “I have no idea what that means.”

Katell met Arnold Schwarzenegger last year both are involved in creating after-school educational enrichment programs and parlayed the introduction into an audition.

The role is not Katell’s first, however. He appeared last year as a postman in “The Retrievers,” a movie produced for Animal Planet.

“I had two words: ‘Special delivery,'” said Katell. “But a good close-up.”

The Roving Eye

Pajama Party

Leave it to the French to break new ground on the local fashion scene.

Le Meridien at Beverly Hills, the French-themed hotel near the Beverly Center, is making a splash with a special pajama bottom it created as a gift to entice VIPs following last year’s $15 million renovation.

Le Pajamas, described as “unisex lounging pants,” are cotton and rayon bottoms with three pockets down one side for le phone, le pager and le Palm Pilot. So guests won’t get confused, embroidery spells out which pocket is for which technical accouterment.

The pajamas proved so popular that Le Meridien began selling them in its gift shop. So far, the hotel has sold 3,000 Le Pajamas, and General Manager Jacques Ligne said he just ordered 1,000 more.

“Many of our guests are entertainment people and they are high-tech oriented, they have their phones and their Palm Pilots,” Ligne said. “If they go to the pool, they have to carry those items with them in their bathing suit or robe and it is difficult.”

The inspiration for Le Pajamas which come in black and white and sell for $39.95 involved a concierge who found herself helping a clumsy guest as he fumbled with his electronic gadgets poolside.

Word of Le Pajamas has spread East, garnering mentions in the Fashion & Style section of The New York Times and on CNN. Earlier this month, the promotion earned Le Meridien an award at the California Conference on Tourism.

Public Relations consultant Arlene Winnick, who helped come up with the idea for Le Pajamas, said the hotel staff has been pleasantly surprised by the buzz.

“I actually saw someone wearing them on the beach in Malibu,” Winnick said. “It’s so L.A. I mean you can’t really walk around in pajamas in New York.”

Darrell Satzman

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